“We must never forget – and pledge never again to inflict such mass destruction. That should start with the UK scrapping plans to replace and upgrade Trident, and instead sign the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.”
Caroline Lucas MP.
On Sunday 9th August, Glastonbury’s Mayor, Cllr. Jon Cousins and Deputy Mayor, Cllr. Sue Barnet, observed The Silent Minute at 11:02 a.m. to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Nagasaki atomic bomb.
A member of the international movement Mayors For Peace, Cllr. Cousins read a message from Mayor Taue of Nagasaki:
“Exactly 75 years have passed since the day our city was assaulted by a nuclear bomb. Despite the passing of three quarters of a century, we are still living in world where nuclear weapons exist.
I appeal to the leaders of countries around the world. Please aim to break down the growing climate of distrust and instead build trust through dialogue… At this very time, please choose solidarity over division. At the NPT Review Conference, which is scheduled for next year, I ask that you show a workable way towards nuclear disarmament.”
“ ‘Only 100 seconds remain.’ In order to symbolize this state of crisis, the ‘Doomsday Clock’, an indicator of the time left until the earth’s extinction, was set at its shortest time ever this year.”
The observation took place at Glastonbury’s Peace Pole which was planted on 26th January 2013 by the Pilgrim Reception Centre supported by Uma Uchima, from the World Peace Prayer Society and Tatomir Ion-Marius, a Romanian Peace Ambassador and international peace worker.
Glastonbury’s Peace Pole has “May Peace Prevail on Earth” written on it in eight languages and also a Braille plate. Located on the grass verge at the front of St Dunstan’s car park in the centre of the town, it ensures visitors and residents all have the opportunity to see and feel the message.
Denise Michell (née Price) was born on 11th August 1952, and spent her early years in Barkingside, Redbridge.
She came to live in Glastonbury in 1997 and was an Archdruidess of the Glastonbury Order of Druids from 1998 to 2007 – subsequently becoming a founding member, Elder Ovate and Bard of the Gorsedh Ynys Witrin, Glastonbury’s Bardic College.
In April 2007, Denise married the celebrated author John Michell (1933–2009) at a ceremony held in Glastonbury’s St Benedict’s Church. It was a long courtship – they had first met 34 years earlier, when she was 21 and he was 40.
Partly in response to the government’s proposal that Hinkley Point C in Somerset would be one of the eight newly commissioned Nuclear Power Stations, Denise joined Glastonbury’s Green Party branch in 2010, and became an active campaigner encouraging local people to register to vote.
As Archdruidess, her profile helped to build support, and the local branch experienced a ‘Green Surge’ in 2010/11, which resulted in four Greens being elected to Glastonbury Town Council in May 2011 – Denise being one of the ‘Green Four’.
During their first term, Glastonbury’s Green Councillors implemented a Glastonbury ‘Green’ Charter for the Environment, installed solar panels onto the roof of the Town Hall, declared Glastonbury a Frack Free Council, and resolved to oppose the building of Hinkley C Nuclear Power Station.
As Glastonbury’s Green surge continued, reflected by the national surge in membership from late 2014 onwards (turning Greens into the third largest party in England and Wales), Denise was re-elected in 2015 to become the 316th (and first ‘Green’) Worshipful Mayor of Glastonbury. Her first Mayoral resolution was to join the international anti-nuclear movement ‘Mayors For Peace’, a membership that all succeeding Mayors of Glastonbury have maintained.
As a councillor, Denise was a champion of Glastonbury’s ‘Beltane’ May Day festivities and the town’s annual Frost Fayre. Indeed, when she was first elected, she discovered that the 2011 Frost Fayre was in danger of being cancelled – and decided to take on the coordination of the event, helping to turn the Frost Fayre into a huge success, which has gone from strength to strength – so well attended and popular in 2019 that hundreds of would-be visitors were not even able to enter the town.
In their second term, Glastonbury Greens expanded to seven elected councillors, and took minority control of the town council. During this time, they banned the use of glyphosate on all public land – moving to a non-toxic weed control system, became the first council in Somerset to be ‘single-use plastic free’, and the first to declare a Climate Emergency – pledging to make council operations carbon-neutral by 2030.
In 2019, being returned as a town councillor for a third term (as part of nine Green town councillors – a majority!), Denise joined the small company of people who have been twice elected Mayor of Glastonbury.
During her second Mayoralty, she oversaw Glastonbury becoming the second ‘Earth Protector Town’ in the World – calling for an Amendment to The Rome Statute to include a Law against Ecocide.
When asked recently what it was like to be a councillor, Denise replied: “Working within the community I listen closely to what people would like to see happen in our town now and in the future, and – as a councillor – I can help bring change for the benefit of everyone in our community.”
Denise passed away in the early hours of Monday 22nd June 2020. News of her death was announced by her children Zig, Zoe, Rowan and Leah on social media: “It is with broken hearts that we must share with you that our mum has completed her journey here on Earth and is now on her way to join the ancestors in the stars. Thank you to each and every one of you who has been a part of our mum’s life adventures. We ask that you light a candle, say a prayer and send her on her way with love. Love and light. May there be peace in the sacred grove.”
Personally, I am devastated by the passing of my dear friend. Denny was an incredible person, who loved Glastonbury to the core of her being and did so much for our community. She will be greatly missed. On behalf of Glastonbury Council and the local Green Party, I send my deepest condolences to her family.
11 am to 3:30 pm on Saturday, 25th January at Glastonbury Town Hall.
Glastonbury Town Council’s Climate Emergency Working Group will hold a second People’s Assembly in the Town Hall. This is an opportunity for residents to collectively discuss the urgent situation created by climate change and ecological destruction and make decisions, so that all voices are heard and equally valued.
The Main Hall will be open from 11 am to 3:30 pm and will accommodate more people than the October People’s Assembly, when the small hall was filled to capacity. Presentations will take place between 11 am and 12 noon. The Assembly is scheduled from 12:30 pm to 3:30 pm.
Presentations – 11 am to 12 noon:
People’s Assembly – 12:30 pm to 3:30 pm:
The next step toward building a resilient community.
Following our successful People’s Assembly in October, we will continue the discussion on these topics: Transport, Food, and the Local Environment. The Assembly will be facilitated by Extinction Rebellion’s Indra Donfrancesco.
This is an on-going process. In the short-term we need to have local strategies and actions for living with a reduced environmental impact. In the longer term we may even find ourselves having to provide basic services from our own community resources. Future assemblies will discuss other areas that need addressing: e.g. energy, health care, waste-disposal, education.
Please come to ensure your voice is heard!
Glastonbury’s Green Deputy Mayor, Cllr. Jon Cousins, will compère this special Climate Emergency Day event, which focuses on “Lifestyle Choices and Sustainable Future for Our Community”; open from 10 am until 4 pm on Saturday, 21st September 2019, at Glastonbury Town Hall.
Featuring key-note speaker Anita Van Rossum of Stop Ecocide, giving a talk on the urgent importance of ecocide being recognised as a crime and the Earth Protector Town initiative.
“We are facing an emergency and communities countrywide are trying to find ways to lessen its impact”.
This is a free event is organised by Glastonbury Town Council, Somerset Waste Partnership, local community food growers, Extinction Rebellion, Plastic Free Glastonbury, Friends of the Earth, and Earth Protectors.
There will be guest speakers, films, and stalls with information and advice on sourcing local food produce and growing your own; switching to renewable energy; how to reduce consumption; reducing plastic use; recycling; composting; and gardening for wildlife.
For more information please click HERE.
by Dr Richard Tabor.
Published in the Central Somerset Gazette on Thursday, 28th February 2019.
In a rare moment of consensus ten of eleven Glastonbury Town Council members attending a meeting depleted by illness on Tuesday 12th February voted to pass a motion declaring a Climate Emergency put forward by two former mayors. Only Conservative representative and County Councillor Terry Napper abstained as other members from all parties voted in favour.
Green Party councillor Jon Cousins spoke to the motion which was supported by his colleague, Emma George. Citing the dire consequences of a 1.5 degree rise in global temperatures highlighted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Global Warming’s 2018 special report on Climate Change the council’s ambitious Climate Emergency committed Glastonbury to:
“1) Continue to show foresight and leadership when it comes to addressing the issue of Climate Change, having adopted an Environmental Charter, opposed fracking in the Mendips and throughout the UK, installed solar panels on the Town Hall roof, and banned single use plastics;
2) pledge to make the operation of Glastonbury Town Council carbon neutral by 2030, taking into account both production and consumption emissions.”
After reading out the motion Councillor Cousins spoke of the “unprecedented changes in all aspects of society”, reminding his colleagues that Climate Change is a serious issue effecting everyone. He noted that Town Councillors as representatives of the community needed to take action because seemingly insignificant every-day actions, such as discarding a plastic bag, can have far reaching consequences as demonstrated by the vast amount of plastic waste floating in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.
He went on to say that the decisions we make now as individuals, as communities and as a nation will be judged by our children and grandchildren who will have to deal with the consequences. In calling for the motion to be adopted he concluded that the council had a duty to future generations to be on the ‘right side of history’. He received eloquent support from Councillor Emma George who explained that other Councils across the UK had already passed similar motions and had pledged to make their towns carbon neutral by 2030. Only Councillor Napper was unwilling to support the motion as he felt that the word ‘pledge’ was too strong. The passing of the vote was received with huge cheer from an uncharacteristically full public gallery.